In a flurry of inspired New Year’s activity, I cleaned out 90% of my task backlog yesterday afternoon. This included doing some useful work — making calls, sending emails, scheduling meetings — but mostly consisted of removing things that never should have been there in the first place.
I’ve gotten pretty good about putting my commitments onto the backlog and ensuring that when something goes there it means I will deal with it in a reasonably timely way. (This is not how I have always worked, to be clear.) Yesterday’s exercise shows, though, that I’m still not paying enough attention to filtering and avoiding committing to things in the first place.
I guess I don’t think you can have a rule like “I will never put anything on my task list that I might discard later.” It would be nice to get a little closer to that ideal, though.